What does the Centennial mean for us
As students sat munching on 2,012 pies during Willy's birthday celebration, I wondered about what action we, as students, are taking to commemorate the upcoming momentous occasion of Rice's 100th anniversary. Do we just enjoy the free lunch handed to us? Cheer along with the celebration songs? Pump our fists and drink more beer? Perhaps we can do something more.
A university, by definition, is composed of a transitory population. Most of us come and go, with an entirely new body of students every four years. This means it is difficult for us to look into the future and plan for the future, but perhaps this occasion calls for a stronger movement from students. As a part of the student body during our university's centennial, what can we say that we've done to make Rice a better place for the next century? How have we contributed?
We may not have the power to build a new student center, to raise one billion dollars or to turn Willy into a golden statue, but we can leave our mark. We can help shape the vision for Rice into its second century and be a part of a discussion to identify student priorities for the future. How will our peers' education differ from ours? Where should emphasis be placed in the curriculum? What extracurricular activities and programs should be developed? These questions and many more are up to you to answer. Be a part of the Student Vision for the Second Century (sa.rice.edu/sv2c), and get involved in the discussion.
Perhaps you care about the residential college system, collegiate athletics, improved teaching, facilities on campus, leadership skills or curriculum development. Or perhaps you care about none of these and instead have a passion for student health and wellness. You might also think that lectures should no longer exist, and textbooks should be replaced with iPads. Maybe you think that every student should be required to study abroad. The possibilities for change go on and on: an infinite list waiting to be populated by your ideas and creative thoughts.
In addition to making physical improvements to the campus, students must also remember the values that are so dear to the university. The three main values of Rice University, as defined by its mission statement, include: providing unsurpassed teaching to undergraduates, creating ground-breaking research opportunities and contributing to the betterment of the world by developing leaders across the spectrum of human endeavors. We must retain our focus on these values and truly do all that we can to cultivate the leaders of tomorrow.
This is our chance - a chance of a lifetime - to step up as students and to rethink what the Rice experience has meant to us and what it should mean for the next 100 years. Hopefully, you share the same sentiment as I do - Rice has been a fantastic experience as an undergraduate institution, and this is our chance to make it even better. This year, take a moment to think about what you can do to impact Rice in its centennial. Whether it's revitalizing a club, recording your college's history, helping build the Centennial House, starting a new mentor program or giving your input in the Student Vision for the Second Century, you can make a difference. If we come together, perhaps we can start a dialogue with students to set the horizon for the future and to define the limits of our reach. Or, perhaps, there is no upper limit.
Georgia Lagoudas is a Lovett College senior and former Student Association president.
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